King Tut, 3***, London

KING TUT – A pyramid panto.
Story devised by John Savournin & David Eaton.
Original lyrics and arrangements by David Eaton.

The King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street Islington, London N1 1QN to 6 January 2018.
Mon-Sat 7pm Children’s matinees 2,3,9 & 31 Dec 2pm.
Check with theatre for dates of adult performances. The role of Lord Conniving is played on alternate dates by John Savournin and Matthew Kellett.
Runs 2hr 30mins One interval.
TICKETS: 020 72264443.
Review: William Russell 28 November.

Titters and tuts galore

The night I saw it John Savournin was strutting his stuff as only he can in this daft send up about what happened to Lord Conniving, Howard Carter and Carter’s girlfriend Evelyn when they went looking for the tomb of King Tut. Charles Court Opera devotees will not be disappointed with the inevitable mixture of lewd double entendres, rather good singing – the community sing along song all pantos must have is of especially high standard – and a lot of larking about. Just how Mr Savournin and the vertically challenged, but utterly delightful, Matthew Kellett, a regular in these pantos, can alternate the role of Conniving takes a bit of swallowing. It is, dare one say it, a case of little and large and separate costumes. The divine Nichola Jolley is also out of sight being just a backing singer this year, as is the sonorous Simon Masterton-Smith who provides the voice over when things get too difficult to follow. They are missed but, although the cast of five strains hard to fill the cinemascope screen wastes of the theatre, by and large a good time is had by all. The comic camel is a bit of a bore, but before Philip Lee, landed with the role, gets depressed, he does raise Act Two to delirious comic heights doing Bruce Forsyth running a dreadful game show. As for the King, Alys Roberts does a wonderful Welsh Jimmy Krankie.

There are arguably more fart jokes than are absolutely necessary but when Mr Savournin plays an armchair the until then tediously tasteless but not odourless running gag does pay off. It relies on the fact that when Carter, a dashing Matt R J Ward, gets too close to his beloved Evelyn he breaks wind. How Savournin manages to cope with both Mr Ward and the ample Francesca Fenech, who plays Evelyn, on his lap at the same time and still walk off stage at the end of the scene is one of life’s mysteries probably better not solved.
To be honest one other thing is lacking – there is no Dame. Since Mr Savournin in drag is a joy to behold this is a great pity and his John Cleese turn as Conniving is really no substitute. As for the dreadful jokes – the evening gets off to a fine start when someone had to go to the doctor and says it was an Egyptian doctor. How did they know? “Because he was a Cairo practer.”

Evelyn: Francesa Fenech.
Matthew Kellett: Lord Conniving.
John Savourning: Lord Conniving.
Porter/Camel: Philip Lee.
Boy/King Tut: Alys Roberts.
Howard Carter: Matt R J Ward.
Jennifer Begley plays Boy/King Tut on 7 December.
Backing Vocalist: Nichola Jolley.
Voice Over: Simon Masterton-Smith.
Percussion: Dave Jennings.

Director: John Savournin.
Musical Director: David Eaton.
Choreographer: Tara Randell.
Set Designer: Sean Turner.
Costume Designer: Mia Wallden.
Lighting Designer: Nicholas Holdridge.

2017-12-04 10:19:18

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